·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 304 thousand in January, following an increase of 222 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 296 thousand in January, while government employment increased by 8 thousand. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

·      The unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 4.0% in January, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 241 thousand to 6.535 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 4.1%, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.641 million

·      The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 54 thousand to 1.252 million and accounted for 19.3% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 176 thousand.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 63.2% in January, up 0.5 percentage point over the year.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January.

·      In January, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.2%.

·      The Employment Cost Index for total compensation rose 0.7%, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending December 2018, following a 0.8% increase for the 3–month period ending September 2018. Compensation costs increased 2.9% for the 12-month period ending December 2018. Wages and salaries increased 3.1% for the 12-month period ending in December 2018 and increased 2.5% for the 12-month period ending in December 2017. Benefit costs increased 2.8% for the 12-month period ending in December 2018. In December 2017, the increase was 2.5%. Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 2.6% for the 12-month period ending in December 2018, while compensation costs for private industry workers increased 3.0%.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 250 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 116 areas, and unchanged in 22 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. A total of 89 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0% and 3 areas had rates of at least 10.0%. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 61 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 327 areas.

·      From March 2018 to June 2018, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector establishments were 7.6 million, an increase of 233 thousand jobs from the previous quarter, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over this period, gross job losses from closing and contracting private-sector establishments were 7.2 million, an increase of 536 thousand jobs from the previous quarter. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment gain of 437 thousand jobs in the private sector during the second quarter of 2018.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased by 53 thousand to 253 thousand in the week ending January 26. This is the highest level for initial claims since September 30, 2017 when it was 254 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 220.25 thousand, an increase of 5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 19 was 1,782 thousand, an increase of 69 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised level of 1,713 thousand. This is the highest level for insured unemployment since April 28, 2018 when it was 1,794 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 1,737.75 thousand, an increase of 8 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average of 1,729.75 thousand. This is the highest level for this average since August 4, 2018 when it was 1,729 thousand. 

·      November 2018 sales of merchant wholesalers were down 0.6% from the previous month, but were up 4.0% from the November 2017 level. Inventories of merchant wholesalers were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 6.5% from a year ago. The November inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers was 1.29, compared with 1.26 in November 2017.

·      Construction spending during November 2018 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,299.9 billion, 0.8% above the revised October estimate. The November figure is 3.4% above the November 2017 figure. During the first eleven months of this year, construction spending was 4.5% above the spending during the same period in 2017.  Private Construction increased 1.3% in November, while public construction decreased 0.9%.  

·      November new home sales increased 16.9% to an annualized rate of 657 thousand units. The November figure was 7.7% below the November 2017 figure.  The median sales price of new houses sold was $302.4 thousand, 11.9% below November 2017.  

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates moving slightly higher after weeks of moderating. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.46% for the week ending January 31, up from last week when it averaged 4.45%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.22%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.89% for the week ending January 31, up from last week when it averaged 3.88%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.68%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 3.0% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 25, 2019.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in January, and the overall economy grew for the 117th consecutive month.

·      The Chicago FED National Activity Index increased to 0.27 in December, from 0.21 in November. The index’s three-month moving average was 0.16, compared with 0.12 in November.

·      The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index decreased in January. The Index now stands at 120.2 (1985=100), down from 126.6 in December. The Present Situation Index declined slightly, from 169.9 to 169.6. The Expectations Index decreased from 97.7 last month to 87.3 this month.

·      The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for January was 91.2, down from 98.3 in December. The Current Economic Conditions Index decreased from 116.1 in December to 108.8 in January, while the Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 87.0 to 79.9.

·      The Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 2.25% to 2.50%. The Committee indicated that labor market conditions continued to strengthen and economic activity continued to expand at a solid rate. The Committee stated that “In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes.

 

·      December existing home sales decreased 4.6% to an annualized rate of 4.99 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. The December figure was 10.3 % below the December 2017 figure. The median sales price of existing houses sold was $253.6 thousand, 2.9% above December 2017. This marks the 82nd straight month of year-over-year gains in prices. The housing inventory at the end of December dropped to 1.55 million from 1.74 million existing homes for sale in November. Unsold inventory is at a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 last month and up from 3.2 months a year ago.

·      U.S. House prices rose 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis from October to November, the same increase as in the previous period, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. prices rose 5.8%. The annual increases ranged from 4.5% in the West South Central division to 7.4% in the Mountain division.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed 30-year fixed mortgage rates remained unchanged for the third consecutive week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.45% for the week ending January 24, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 4.15%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.88%, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.62%.

·      Mortgage applications decreased 2.7% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 18, 2019.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 13 thousand to 199 thousand in the week ending January 19. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 15, 1969 when it was 197 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 215 thousand, a decrease of 5.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 12 was 1,713 thousand, a decrease of 24 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised level of 1,737 thousand. The 4-week moving average was 1,729.750 thousand, an increase of 1.25 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average of 1,728.5 thousand. 

·      The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators decreased 0.1% in December, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month. Over the last six months of 2018, the index grew 1.5% (about 3.1% annual rate), slower than the growth of 2.7% (about 5.5% annual rate) over the first half of the year.The Conference Board coincident economic index increased 0.2% in December, the same increase as in November. The coincident index rose 1.2% (about 2.3% annual rate) during the last six months of 2018, slower than the growth of 1.0% (about 2.0% annual rate) over the first half of the year.

 

  • Total Industrial production increased 0.3% in December, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The index was 4.0% above the level in December 2017. The manufacturing index was up 1.1% in December, while the index for utilities was down 6.3%. The index for mining was up 1.5% in December. Total Industrial production for the year 2018 was up 4.1% from the previous year.
  • The rate of capacity utilization for total industry was 78.7% in December, compared with 78.6 in November, and 79.8 as the average of the 1972-2017 period.
  • Unemployment rates were higher in December in 4 states, lower in 3 states, and stable in 43 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fourteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 36 states and the District had little or no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 8 states in December 2018 and was essentially unchanged in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 40 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 10 states and the District were essentially unchanged.
  • Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 115.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $900 in the fourth quarter of 2018 (not seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was 5.0% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 2.2% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period.  Women had median weekly earnings of $794, or 80.0 percent of the $993 median for men.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 3 thousand to 213 thousand in the week ending January 12. The 4-week moving average was 220.75 thousand, a decrease of a thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The producer price index for final demand (headline index) decreased 0.2% in December, following a 0.1% increase in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for final demand less foods, energy and trade held steady in December, after a 0.3% increase in the previous month. The headline index increased 2.5% from December 2017 to December 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy and trade increased 2.8%.
  • The import price index in December was down 1.0% from November, and was down 0.6% from December of 2017. The export price index was down 0.6% from November, but was up 1.1% from December of 2017.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 17th showed average fixed mortgage rates remained flat after dropping for six consecutive weeks. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.45% for the week ending January 17th, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.04%. 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.88%, down slightly from last week when it averaged 3.89%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.49%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 13.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 11th.
  • The January 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that business activity grew slightly in New York State. The headline general business conditions index fell eight points to 3.9, its lowest level in well over a year. The prices paid index decreased 3.8 points, while the prices received index inched up 0.3 point. Looking ahead, firms were less optimistic about the six-month outlook than they were last month.
  • The Philadelphia FED’s manufacturing business outlook survey for January 2019 reported that economic growth continued in the region. The index for current manufacturing activity increased from 9.1 in December to 17.0 in January. The prices paid index decreased 6 points, while the prices received index decreased 4 points in January.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, decreased to 90.7 in January, from 98.3 in December. The Index was 95.7 a year ago. The Current Economic Conditions Index decreased from 116.1 to 110.0, while the Index of Consumer Expectations decreased from 87.0 to 78.3.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that economic activity increased in most of the Districts. The majority of Districts indicated that manufacturing activity slowed down, while new home construction, existing home sales, and commercial real estate activity were little changed. Many Districts were less optimistic in response to increased financial market volatility, rising short-term interest rates, falling energy prices, and elevated trade and political uncertainty. Districts highlighted rising entry-level wages as firms sought to attract and retain workers and as new minimum wage laws came into effect. Most Districts indicated that firms’ input costs had risen, but reports were mixed on whether they could pass the higher costs on to customers.
  • The consumer price index (headline index) decreased 0.1% in December, after holding steady in the previous month. The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 1.9% for the 12-month period ending in December, while the core index rose 2.2%.
  • Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.5% from November to December. This result stems from a 0.4% increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.1% decrease in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 17 thousand to 216 thousand in the week ending January 5. The 4-week moving average was 221.75 thousand, an increase of 2.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • The number of job openings decreased to 6.9 million on the last business day of November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires edged down to 5.7 million and separations were also little changed at 5.5 million.
  • November consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 6.75% to $3,979.2 billion. Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 5.5%, while non-revolving credit increased 7.1%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed mortgage rates decreasing significantly across the board. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.45% for the week ending January 10, down from last week when it averaged 4.51%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.99%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.89%, down from last week when it averaged 3.99%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.44%.
  • Mortgage applications increased 23.5% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 4, 2018.

·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 312 thousand in December, following an increase of 176 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 301 thousand in December, while government employment increased by 11 thousand. Payroll employment rose by 2.6 million in 2018, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2017. Job gains occurred in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

·      The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9% in December, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 276 thousand to 6.3 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 4.1%, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.6 million

·      The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 20.5% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 205 thousand.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 63.1% in December, little changed over the year.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in December.

·      In December, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 11 cents to $27.48. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.2%.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 290 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 69 areas, and unchanged in 29 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 54 metropolitan areas, and was unchanged in 334 areas.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 10 thousand to 231 thousand in the week ending December 29. The 4-week moving average was 218.75 thousand, a decrease of 0.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

  • Due to lapse in Congressional Appropriations for fiscal year 2019, the U.S.  Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau and other statistical offices were closed. There will be no statistical releases by those institutions until further notice.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, decreased 0.7% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index was down 7.7% from a year ago.
  • The S & P Corelogic Case-Shiller indices showed that the rate of home price increases across the U.S. slowed for the third month in a row. The National U.S. Home Price Index posted an annual increase of 5.5% for the 12 months ending in October. The 10-city composite index increased 4.7% from October 2017 to October 2018, while and 20-city composite index increased 5.0%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 27th showed average fixed mortgage rates continuing their downward trend to end the week and the year lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55% for the week ending December 27, down from last week when it averaged 4.62%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.99%.15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01%, down from last week when it averaged 4.07%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.44%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 5.8% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 14th.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance was 216 thousand in the week ending December 22, a decrease of a thousand from the previous week. The 4-week moving average was 218 thousand, a decrease of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in December, following a modest decline in November. The Index now stands at 128.1 (1985=100), down from 136.4 in November. The Present Situation Index decreased slightly from 172.7 to 171.6, while the Expectations Index declined from 112.3 to 99.1.
  • Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.4% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the “third” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.2%.  In the second estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was 3.5%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 1.0% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 5.4% in the previous quarter.
  • Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 4.3% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the second quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the second quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.4% in the previous quarter. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.0%. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 2.1%.
  • Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $78.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $65.0 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $6.1 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $16.5 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $83.0 billion, compared with an increase of $53.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $1.3 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $4.5 billion.
  • Personal income increased 0.2% in November, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased 0.2% and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 0.4%. Real DPI increased 0.2%, and real PCE increased 0.3%. The PCE price index increased 0.1%. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index also increased 0.1%. The PCE price index increased 1.8% from a year ago, while the core (PCE excluding food and energy) price index increased 1.9%.
  • State personal income increased 4.0% on average in the third quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, state personal income increased 3.4%. Personal income increased in all states and the District of Columbia. The percent change in personal income across all states ranged from 6.2% in Nevada and Washington to 2.1% in Missouri.
  • The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.8 billion (preliminary) in the third quarter of 2018 from $101.2 billion (revised) in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit increased to 2.4% of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), from 2.0% in the second quarter. The $23.6 billion increase in the current-account deficit reflected a $24.0 billion increase in the deficit on goods.

·      Advance estimates of retail and food services sales for November were up 0.2% from the previous month, and were up 4.2% from November 2017. Excluding motor vehicle & parts, sales were up 0.2% from the previous month, and were up 4.9% from a year ago. Year-to-date, retail sales and food services were up 5.3% from the same period of 2017.

·      Total manufacturing and trade sales for October were up 0.3% from the previous month, and were up 6.1% from October 2017. Total business inventories were up 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 5.2% from a year ago. The inventories/sales ratio was 1.35, compared to 1.36 in October of 2017.

·      Total Industrial production increased 0.6% in November, following a decrease of 0.2% in the previous month. Total Industrial production was up 3.9% from November 2017. The capacity utilization rate was 78.5 in November, 1.4 percentage points below the average for the 1972-2017 period, and 1.4 percentage points above the November 2017 level.

·      The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released prototype statistics for gross domestic product (GDP) by county for 2012-2015.  Combined with BEA’s county estimates of personal income, GDP by county offers a more complete picture of local area economic conditions. In 2015, real (inflation adjusted) GDP increased in 1,931 counties, decreased in 1,159, and was unchanged in 23.  Real GDP ranged from $4.6 million in Loving County, Texas to $656.0 billion in Los Angeles County, California. Of the 138 large counties, those with populations greater than 500,000, real GDP increased in 125 and decreased in 13 in 2015.   Of the 461 medium-sized counties, those with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, real GDP increased in 336, decreased in 120, and was unchanged in 5 in 2015. Of the 2,514 small counties, those with populations less than 100,000, real GDP increased in 1,470, decreased in 1,026, and was unchanged in 18 in 2015.

·      The federal budget had a deficit of $204.9 billion in November, compared with a deficit of $100.5 billion in October and a deficit of $138.5 billion in November of 2017. The cumulative deficit for the first two months of the fiscal year 2019 was $305.4 billion, compared with a deficit of $201.8 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

·      Import prices decreased 1.6% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, following a 0.5% increase in the previous month. Prices for imports increased 0.7% from November 2017. The price index for exports decreased 0.9% in November, after increasing 0.5% in the previous month. Prices for exports advanced 1.8% over the past year.

·      The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 0.1% in November, following an increase of 0.6% in the previous month. The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 0.3%, following an increase of 0.2% in the previous month. The producer price index for final demand (headline index) increased 2.5% from November 2017 to November 2018, while the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade increased 2.8%.

·      The consumer price index (headline index) held steady in November, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.  The core index, all items less food and energy, increased 0.2%, the same increase as in the previous month. The consumer price index increased 2.2% for the 12-month period ending in November. The core index also rose 2.2% from a year ago.

·      Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.3% from October to November. This result stems from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the consumer price index for all urban consumers.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 27 thousand to 206 thousand in the week ending December 8. The 4-week moving average was 224.75 thousand, a decrease of 3.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 1 was 1,661 thousand, an increase of 25 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,665.75, a decrease of 2.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average

·      The number of job openings was little changed at 7.1 million on the last business day of October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the month, hires edged up to 5.9 million, and separations were little changed at 5.6 million.

·      A total of 165.2 million persons worked at some point during 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The proportion of the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over who worked at some time during 2017 was 64.2%, little changed from 2016. The number of persons who experienced some unemployment during 2017 declined by 1.1 million to 14.5 million.

·      Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $36.63 per hour worked in September 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries averaged $25.03 per hour worked and accounted for 68.3 percent of these costs, while benefit costs averaged $11.60 and accounted for the remaining 31.7 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $34.53 per hour worked in September 2018. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $50.03 per hour worked in September 2018.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropped significantly after several weeks of moderating. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.63% for the week ending December 13, down from last week when it averaged 4.75%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.93%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.07%, down from last week when it averaged 4.21%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 1.6% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 7th.

·      Total non-farm payroll employment increased 155 thousand in November, following an increase of 237 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 161 thousand in November, while government employment decreased by 6 thousand. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. The average monthly increase in employment was 209 thousand over the prior 12 months. In November, job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

·      The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in November. The unemployment rate was 4.1% in November 2017.

·      The number of unemployed decreased by 100 thousand to 5.975 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 120 thousand to 1.253 million and accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

·      The labor force participation rate remained at 62.9% in November, and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months.

·      The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in November.

·      In November, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $27.35. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 3.1%.

·      Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.3% during the third quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 4.1% and hours worked increased 1.8%. From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3%, reflecting a 3.7% increase in output and a 2.3% increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 0.9% in the third quarter of 2018, reflecting a 3.1% increase in hourly compensation and a 2.3% increase in productivity. Unit labor costs also increased 0.9% over the last four quarters.

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 4 thousand to 231 thousand in the week ending December 1. The 4-week moving average was 228 thousand, an increase of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 24 was 1,631 thousand, a decrease of 74 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,667 thousand, an increase of 0.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      Sales of domestic cars decreased 6.8% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 0.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total vehicle sales were 17.4 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018, and 17.5 million in November of 2017.

·      New orders for manufactured goods decreased 2.1% in October, while shipments decreased 0.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, new orders were up 8.3%, while shipments were up 7.6%.

·      The international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $55.5 billion in October from $54.6 billion in September (revised), as exports decreased to $211.0 billion and imports increased to $266.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit was $502.7, an increase of $51.3 billion, or 11.4%, from the same period in 2017.

·      The net worth of households and nonprofits rose to $109.0 trillion during the third quarter of 2018. Domestic nonfinancial debt outstanding was $51.3 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2018, of which household debt was $15.5 trillion, nonfinancial business debt was $15.0 trillion, and total government debt was $20.8 trillion. Domestic nonfinancial debt expanded 4.4% at an annual rate in the third quarter, while household debt increased 3.4%. Consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 5.4%, while mortgage debt grew 3.1%. Nonfinancial business debt rose at an annual rate of 3.9%. Federal government debt increased 6.8%, while state and local government debt decreased 1.4%.

·      October construction spending was down 0.1% from the previous month, but was up 4.9% from a year ago. Residential construction decreased 0.5%, while nonresidential construction increased 0.1%. Total private construction decreased 0.4% in October, while total public construction increased 0.8%.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates dropping after weeks of moderating. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.75% for the week ending December 6, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.81%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.94%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.21%, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.25%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.36%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 2.0% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending November 30, 2018.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 115th consecutive month.

·      The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey indicated that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in November, for the 106th consecutive month.

·      Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the “second” estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 4.2%.  In the advance estimate, released a month ago, the increase in real GDP was also 3.5%.

·      Real final sales of domestic product (GDP less change in private inventories) increased 3.1% in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of 4.0% in the previous quarter.

·      Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 4.0% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the second quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.8% in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the second quarter.

·      The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7% in the third quarter of 2018, compared with an increase of 2.4% in the previous quarter. 

·      The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 2.0% in the previous quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.5%, compared with an increase of 2.1%.

·      Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $76.0 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $65.0 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $7.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $16.5 billion in the second quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased $66.2 billion, compared with an increase of $53.0 billion. Rest-of-the-world profits increased $17.6 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $4.5 billion.

·      Personal income increased 0.5% in October according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) also increased 0.5% and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 0.6%. Real DPI increased 0.3% in October and real PCE increased 0.4%. The PCE price index increased 0.2%. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.1%. The PCE price index increased 2.0% from a year ago, while the core (PCE excluding food and energy) price index increased 1.8%. 

·      The international trade deficit was $77.2 billion in October, up $1.0 billion from $76.3 billion in September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Exports of goods for October were $140.5 billion, $0.8 billion less than September exports. Imports of goods for October were $217.8 billion, $0.2 billion more than September imports.

·      Retail inventories for October were up 0.9% from September, and were up 4.0% from October 2017.

·      Wholesale inventories for October were up 0.7% from September, and were up 6.6% from October 2017. 

·      October new home sales decreased 8.9% to an annualized rate of 544 thousand units. The October figure was 12.0% below the October 2017 figure. The median sales price of new houses sold was $309.7 thousand, 3.1% below October 2017.

·      The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, decreased 2.6% to 102.1 in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is now 6.7% below October 2017.

·      U.S. house prices increased 0.2% in September, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA). For the 12 months ending in September, U.S. house prices rose 6.0%. 

·      The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.5% annual gain in September, down from 5.7% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 4.8%, down from 5.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.1% year-over-year gain, down from 5.5% the previous month.

·      The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average mortgage rates remained stable. 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.81% for the week ending November 29, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year rate was 3.90%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.25%, up from last week when it averaged 4.24%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year rate was 3.30%.

·      Mortgage applications increased 5.5% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending November 23rd. 

·      The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 10 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending November 24. The 4-week moving average was 223.25 thousand, an increase of 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s unrevised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending November 17 was 1,710 thousand, an increase of 50 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,667.75 thousand, an increase of 19.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.

·      Unemployment rates were lower in October than a year earlier in 272 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 95 areas, and unchanged in 21 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 56 metropolitan areas, and was essentially unchanged in 332 areas.

·    The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in October, declined in November. The Index now stands at 135.7 (1985=100), down from 137.9 in October. The Present Situation Index increased slightly from 171.9 to 172.7, while the Expectations Index decreased from 115.1 to 111.0.